It was 2001 when Joey Ramone passed away at the age of 49, and while his birthday could have been a reminder to fans that punkâ€™s founding father left us too soon, it has become a celebration of his life, as proven nine years later on May 19th at Irving Plaza. The population of pin heads has increased over the years, all gathering with some of Joeyâ€™s friends and family at his annual Birthday Bash, hosted by his younger brother Mickey Leigh. Both grandmas and brats united to commemorate what would have been Joeyâ€™s 59th birthday with a slew of performances by both veterans and newcomers.
While the New York Dolls werenâ€™t featured at this yearâ€™s festivities, the evening did provide some tricks and treats for a crowd pledging their allegiance to Joey. Some of the eveningâ€™s many highlights included carny act Sic F*cks, featuring men in revealing Viking drag and their tacky suited front man howling â€œBlitzkreg Bop.â€ Former Alice Cooper bassist Dennis Dunaway even joined the troupe, armed with Dee Dee Ramonesâ€™ actual bass because â€œhe couldnâ€™t make it.â€ Dance rockers Morningwood heated up the night with acrobatic front woman Chantal Claret demanding everyone join in a fierce rendition of aerobics that not even Jane Fonda could master. There was also horror ska group The Independents, formerly managed by Joey. Evil Presley never skipped a beat and provided his signature King snarls.
True Ramones fans werenâ€™t left in the dark at this yearâ€™s Birthday Bash. Richie Ramone entertained with both brash vocals and infectious drumming, whereas Cheetah Chromeâ€™s rowdy rendition of â€œThe KKK Took My Baby Awayâ€ deserved an encore. The night wouldnâ€™t be complete without Leigh, giving everyone a peek into the upcoming Joey Ramone solo album currently in the works. It was a treat that glue sniffers happily relished. Not even death could prevent Joey from releasing new work.
The Joey Ramone Birthday Bash gave New Yorkers hope that despite growing condos, the gritty spirit of the city led by The Ramonesâ€™ towering front man is alive and well. Joey isnâ€™t here with us, but with his friends and fans uniting every year for one night, his legacy will never die.